Florida State Senate President Mike Haridopolos, who is running for the U.S. Senate, tells Newsmax that Washington, D.C. is “broken” and the government is “spending us into oblivion.”
He also asserts that a balanced budget will provide the stability needed to create jobs, and calls the individual mandate provision of Obamacare “ridiculous.”
Haridopolos was first elected to the Florida Senate in 2002. He is seeking the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Democrat Bill Nelson.
The GOP sees Nelson’s seat as one of the keys to taking control of the Senate next year. In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Haridopolos was asked why he is running and what he hopes to accomplish in Washington.
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“I’m running because I don’t believe America’s broken, Washington, D.C. is broken, and unfortunately Bill Nelson is part of the problem,” he responds.
“As a Republican we’re only four seats short of a majority. I can be one of those four seats, join Marco Rubio as a Florida United States Senator, and turn around America.
“My biggest concern is simple: debt. We can’t afford the government. They’re spending us into oblivion. We need to turn around America, get out of debt so our kids and our grandkids can find success. If they’re paralyzed by debt, they will not share the American dream.”
As for what differentiates him from Sen. Nelson, Haridopolos says: “It’s pretty clear — our philosophy. He talks like a conservative. He looks like a conservative. He dresses like a conservative. But he votes like a liberal. He voted for Obamacare, stimulus, cap-and-trade or cap-and-tax, and card check. And he gets an F from the NRA. He’s a person who believes in more government, more taxes.
“My track record is one of a consistent conservative, pro-life, pro-gun, anti-tax. And more importantly I know how to balance budgets.”
Haridopolos has introduced a bill that would prevent the individual mandate provision of Obamacare — requiring Americans to pay a fine if they don’t buy health insurance — from being implemented in Florida, and intends to see it pass on the first day of the upcoming legislative session.
“If you can’t afford insurance, you have to pay a $400 fine?” Haridopolos scoffs. “That’s ridiculous. And that’s why we’re standing up for taxpayers.”
Haridopolos says the standoff between Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and the state’s public employee unions, with Democratic legislators fleeing the state to prevent a vote in the Senate, is “absolutely ridiculous — people walking off the job, leaving the state. Do your job.”
In Florida, he asserts, the focus regarding public employees should be on pension reform, bringing retirement benefits in line with those of workers in the private sector, who have to contribute toward their retirement.
“If we do that, the cost of operating the state government will go down and we’ll have more money for economic development, which creates jobs,” the Senate president declares.
Asked if he supports Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s plan to slash $4.6 billion in spending and cut 6,700 state jobs, Haridopolos tells Newsmax: “Absolutely. You have to balance the budget. The pledge we have made is that we’re going to cut spending to balance the budget — no ifs, ands or buts — and no tax increases nor fee increases.
“We offer the stability that will be the road map for jobs and opportunities.
“We have to offer stability. When you have stability you create jobs, because businesses are going to go to places where they know they can operate and not have to look around the corner wondering if the government’s going to tax them, fine them, add more fees or make it easier for one Floridian to sue another.
“We’re offering stability with a balanced budget and not raising taxes. If we do that, we’ll have a successful session.”
Overall, “I think [Scott has] done an outstanding job. He’s bringing the private sector to government and we need that desperately.”
Haridopolos is the author of proposal for a “smart cap,” which would mandate that government spending should never grow faster than family income. It would limit the government’s ability to increase spending, especially in strong economic times as has happened in the recent past.
Haridopolos also tells Newsmax that the legislature will pass a bill that ties Florida teachers’ pay to performance and abolishes tenure in the K-12 system, a proposal that teachers mobilized to oppose last year.
“If people protest, that’s their constitutional right,” he says. “But we will pass it and if the Democrats walk out, so be it. We’ve got the votes to pass it.”
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